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Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankfulness at Thanksgiving!

Earlier today I read an article by NPR (National Public Radio) that discussed Thanksgiving traditions in the early 20th Century.  According to the article, people in larger cities (between 1891 to 1950) would dress up and parade around the main streets in masks and costumes – very similar to outfits that would be worn for Halloween.  Many of the children dressed as “Ragamuffins.”   Since this was a new revelation to me, I found it fascinating!  

To me Thanksgiving has always been about giving thanks, not about dressing up and parading around.  First of all I am thankful for my family, friends and colleagues.  Since we all have so much to be thankful for this year, I put together my “list.”  Columbia School District has so many wonderful children, from terrific families and incredible staff members.  To illustrate what great students we have I will share a recent communication I received.  The very complementary letter came from a basketball official, who for the first time was refereeing a game at Columbia Middle School.  He was so thankful to the players, fans and staff he sent over a thank you email letter.  He mentioned that the players would always say, “Thank you” when he handed them the ball.  He went on to write that he had never encountered kids saying “Thank you” when refereeing a game.  He continued by writing, “Usually when we see kids at the scorer’s table, it’s not a good thing.  But last night the kids that were there were better than some adults we see at the table.  They were polite to us, kept score correctly, and kept time great.  If we had a question about anything, they could look in the scorebook and answer our question immediately…   If these kids are at the table all season, there will be nothing to worry about.”  He concluded by saying, “I’m looking forward to any other trips I make to Columbia Central to officiate.”   It is easy to see why I am especially thankful for our great students.

I am also very thankful for great teachers and staff members who go the extra mile with a terrific attitude.  For instance, this past weekend (Friday through Sunday) we had many staff members
involved in special afterschool activities at Columbia Middle School on Friday, the Robotics competition on Saturday, the Solo Ensemble for CMS students, and the musical “Snow Off White”.   Every day, I could identify many special activities, programs and projects our staff members work on to inspire our students and to help raise their level of achievement.

All of our students and staff members are thankful to our wonderful community for passing the bond issue!  So many people came together to educate our community on the opportunity to create a safe, warm, dry and smart environment for our students.  At this point we have a much safer drop-off and pick-up area at the Columbia Middle and Elementary Campus, a new roof which is keeping us dry and a terrific new playground to encourage our students to get out and exercise.  Our students are enjoying using new Chromebooks and iPads to enhance learning activities in their classrooms.  Recently I met with the entire seventh and eighth grade to give them an idea of how their new “school – within – a – school” will look.  The students were excited and asked well thought out questions.  They showed their thankfulness through their positive attitude.

I could go on and on about the great staff members, families and students we have in Columbia, but I will end with a heartfelt wish for each and every one of you to have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones!  If you have any questions about Columbia School District please email me at or call me at 5175926641.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Help Us Celebrate American Education Week!

Help Columbia School District celebrate American Education Week beginning November 16th. This week of celebration commemorates those who are making a difference every day in the lives of our children and gives us a chance to rejoice with and honor the dedicated and passionate individuals in public education. 

Beginning in 1921, various groups and community members have joined with the National Education Association to celebrate American Education Week.  We take this week to give our educational professionals a virtual round of applause for their tireless work with our most prized possessions; our children.  In addition to celebrating the work of teachers, American Education Week celebrates the local public safety personnel who help keep our children safe, and the wonderful educational support personnel who care for our children. 

The work of our educational professionals has grown over the years.  In response to the increasing needs, our educational support personnel serve breakfast and lunch, bus children back and forth to school, and provide support services during and after school.  Our teachers help to bu
ild a solid foundation for a bright future for our students by teaching more than the core subjects.  They work with students integrating technology into the curriculum, providing character education (including anti-bullying lessons), and teach students how to become life-long learners.

How can you help us celebrate American Education Week?  Send a note or email to an educational professional thanking them for their hard work and commitment.  Stop by and tell your child’s teacher of your gratitude for all he or she does.   If your child or grandchild plays an instrument, sings in the choir or is in the musicals, you could email the director and let him or her know that you appreciate their dedication to your child.  What if your child has graduated?  Send his or her favorite teacher or support person a note telling him or her of your gratefulness for the lasting impression he or she left on your child.

Because the education of our children is a partnership between parents, the community and the educational professionals, it is paramount that we continue to celebrate the gains we have made and continue to make.  Educators have made tremendous progress by increasing the level of excellence in education through hard work and tenacity.  Make this week special for our educational professionals and join me in saying, “Thank you!”  If you are interested in learning more about Columbia School District, email me at or call 5175926641.